Meet Your Candidates night will feature Fairfax County state Senate and House of Delegate candidates up for election on November 7, 2023. This event will occur on Tuesday October 24 between 4pm and 8pm on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at Dewberry South and Lobby in Johnson Center.
- Each candidate will participate in a town hall giving a short speech followed by a 20 minute Q&A with the audience. Most of the candidates will have tables in the Dewberry Lobby where you can talk with their volunteers and pick up their literature. The town halls are intended to be a conversation with the candidates to educate voters on their policy positions and relevant experience.
- Democratic and Republican Party leaders will close the night with town halls at 7:00 and 7:30 with a short speech about the candidates and how the audience can volunteer, intern, and donate money to support their party organizations and candidates, after which they will take questions from the audience.
- Additional table hosts in the Dewberry Lobby will focus on voting, university programs and student groups, and party affiliated organizations.
Democracy onAir, a nonpartisan 501c3 nonprofit managed by GMU alumni, is coordinating Meet Your Candidates night. Democracy onAir will be coordinating a similar event at GMU on October 22, 2024 for the 2024 congressional and presidential races.
The Fairfax County Republican Committee and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee have assisted with organizing the candidates for this event..
For more information about the town halls, contact our student coordinator Sophie Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the tables in the Dewberry Lobby and Democracy onAir, contact Scott Joy at email@example.com.
All 140 seats are up for grabs in November. An enormous opportunity for change is coming to the Virginia General Assembly. Currently, the Senate Democrats have 22 seats and Republicans have 18 seats. In the House of Delegates, Republicans have 50 seats and Democrats have 46 seats (4 vacant seats). You’re invited to learn about what these people who will represent you stand for … As well, for the first time, you will also have a direct channel to them – beyond the event. You can easily inform them about what’s most important to you … and they can respond to you directly as well. To learn more about your current representatives, select the “Representatives” tab in the site header, then select “Who Represents Me” and enter your street address.
- The candidate town halls will focus on the open Senate seats (Districts 33, 36, and 37) and open House of Delegate seat (Districts 15) contiguous to the Fairfax campus. We will also have town halls with the candidates for Senate (District 35) and House (District 11) representing the Mason Fairfax campus. Go here for more information on the candidates.
- Bryan Graham, Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair, will be leading the 7:00 Town Hall featuring Democratic organizations in Fairfax and Steven Knotts, Fairfax County Republican Committee Chair, will be leading the 7:30 Republican Town Hall. Go here for more information.
- A number of stakeholder organizations will also host tables in the Dewberry Hall lobby. Go here for more information.
If you are unable to attend Meet Your Candidates night in person, we will be recording the town halls and interviews with table hosts. Check out this post and onAir candidate profile posts for videos that we will provide by Oct. 31.
Below you will find information on the Meet Your Candidates night schedule. To learn more about the candidates who have confirmed their participation, scroll down or select (only on large screens) a specific candidate from the Table of Contents at the right.
|Del. David Bulova (D)
|Almira Mohammed (R)
|Stella Pekarsky (D)
|Julie Perry (R)
|Jennifer Carroll Foy (D)
|Mike Van Meter (R)
|Sen. Dave Marsden (D)
|Mark Vafiades (R)
|Marcus Evans (R)
|Saddam Azlan Salim (D)
|Ken Reid (R)
|Fairfax Democratic Organizations
|Fairfax Republican Organizations
Location and Parking
Meet Your Candidates night will take place in Dewberry South and Lobby. The event is at the ground level of Johnson Center on the George Mason University Fairfax Campus. Here is a link to the Google map for directions
See Mason Parking Map for location of indoor parking lots.
- The closest indoor parking to Johnson Center is the Pond Parking Deck (41 on the Mason map) next to the Center for the Arts.. More available indoor parking is at Sandy Creek Parking Deck (42) and Rappahannock Parking Deck (43). Paid parking is $5 for the first hour and $18 for all day.
See below for more detailed maps of each district
Flyer for Printing and Media
This PDF can be printed in color or black and white (refresh page if images does not appear).
Social media outreach
Below is a overview paragraph for social media outreach:
Meet Your Candidates night on Tuesday October 24, 2023 will feature 11 Fairfax County state Senate and House candidates up for election this year as well as Republican and Democratic leaders from party organizations. Town halls and hosted tables will take place between 4 and 8pm in Dewberry Hall and Lobby on GMU’s Fairfax campus. The public is invited including interested high school students. See link above for more information on the event and participants.
Here is a PDF with images for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts.
Below are summaries of the Virginia Senate candidates participating in Meet Your Candidates night.
Starting October, we will begin inviting GMU students, faculty, staff and alumni to attend Meet Your Candidates night. At the same time, we will be reaching out to Fairfax County voters as well as Northern Virginia congressional, state, county and city representatives and bureaucrats as well as print, TV, and social media to attend Meet Your Candidates town halls.
Stella Pekarsky (D)
Current Position: Teacher
Candidate: Senate District 36
Growing up in a working class immigrant family, a former teacher, and mother to six children, Stella has always fought to ensure future generations have opportunities to achieve success. On the School Board, she has fought to increase teacher pay and successfully stood up to Youngkin’s partisan agenda to strip away local control of our schools.
A long-time Centreville resident and a small business owner, Stella and her husband are raising their six children in this wonderful community.
Julie Perry (R)
Current Position: Teacher
Candidate: Senate District 36
I’m a teacher, a wife, and I am proud to be the Republican candidate for Virginia Senate, District 36.
My father served over 20 years in the United States Air Force, so growing up we moved around quite a bit. I learned the value of finding a place you could call home, and I found that, here in northern Virginia, with my husband, Mike.
My solutions are simple, common sense, and bipartisan. We need to educate and not indoctrinate our students. We need to prioritize public safety and adequate funding and resources for our first responders. We also need to rein in spending and reduce burdensome regulations that are driving families and businesses away from Virginia.
Mike Van Meter (R)
Current Position: Behavioral therapist at a major hospital in Northern Virginia.
Former Positions: FBI and Adjunct professor at UVA
Candidate: Senate District 33
I am seeking election to the 33rd State Senate District to help Virginia be the best it can be by ensuring the health, safety, and education of all Virginians is the top priority. Every Virginian has a right to expect that their leaders are working to promote their freedoms through adhering to the constitution, protecting their liberties, and placing their well-being above all other endeavors. This expectation includes the promotion of prosperity through responsible spending and taxation. Every Virginian has the right to feel safe in their community by ensuring Virginia has the best trained and equipped First Responders in the nation. Virginians also have the right to expect the best education of their children, knowing that our future lies with our children. To be competitive not only in this nation, but worldwide, we must work to make our public education system unparalleled. I have spent my entire career in the service of this great nation, and I seek to continue this service as a Virginia State Senator. After a career in the military, police, FBI, and now as a behavioral therapist combating our addiction epidemic, I hope that you will join me in this journey of making Virginia the best possible place for prosperity in this great nation.
Jennifer Carroll Foy (D)
Current Position: Public defender
Former Positions: Magistrate Judge, Delegate for 2nd District 2017 to 2020.
Candidate: Senate District 33
“I have never been able to ignore a call from my community to serve”
As one of the first African-American women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute, a former foster mom, magistrate judge, public defender, and Delegate, I’ve dedicated my life to the service of others. And that lifelong experience has driven my determination to get results for Virginians — ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, expanding Medicaid to roughly 500,000 Virginians, raising the minimum wage, expanding broadband, cleaning up toxic coal ash and providing opportunities for veterans to start businesses — I am incredibly proud to have helped lead the charge for bold progress here in Virginia with Governor Northam, Speaker Filler-Corn, the House and Senate Caucuses, and outstanding activists in my district and across Virginia.
But we are at a critical juncture for our Commonwealth, where so much of our progress has the potential to be reversed. That’s why I’m again stepping up to serve my community and move Virginia forward as a candidate for state Senate in Virginia’s 33rd District. My commitment to Virginia has never wavered, and I will work hard to build a better Virginia for everyone.
Dave Marsden (D)
Current Position: State Senator of District 37 since 2010
Candidate: 2023 State Senator District 35
Dave Marsden was first elected Senator for the 37th District in 2010. The 37th District includes parts of Fairfax County.
Senator Marsden is Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and is a member of the Conservation and Natural Resources, Commerce and Labor, Finance and Appropriations, and Rules committees. Senator Marsden was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006 to 2010.
Mark Vafiades (R)
Candidate: 2023 State Senator District 35
Mark Vafiades has worked in the private sector, the Federal and State government, owned a small business and is a retired reserve Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy, who worked in patrol for 20 years.
He has a broad and eclectic background which puts him at great advantage when understanding and discussing how a leftist radical agenda negatively affects the economy and therefore the citizens and families of Virginia.
Ken Reid (R)
Current Position: Local elected office in Loudoun County for 10 years
Former Positions: Newsletter publisher and business owner
Candidate: Senate District 37
Kenneth Reid served ten years as a councilmember and supervisor in Loudoun County, VA, outside Washington, DC-one of the fastest-growing communities in the US. A Republican, he won election in a blue-leaning community, Leesburg, never losing an election in four tries. Reid also has assisted numerous other candidates to win office using many of the strategies and organization efforts in this book.
By profession, he is a publisher who has written about the biomedical industries since the Reagan administration, served as a grassroots PR consultant in the transportation realm and currently works as a technical writer in the Hampton Roads area.
His master’s degree is in journalism from the University of Missouri and undergrad degree in political science from Rutgers. As such, he has superior marketing, media and political skills to help other candidates win and navigate working in local elected office.
Saddam Azlan Salim
Current Position: Consultant advising federal clients
Former Positions: Financial Consultant
Candidate: Senate District 37
Saddam believes in public service, because he has seen the real effects of affordable housing, healthcare, education and community support on his life. The City of Falls Church and Fairfax County helped his family survive and supported him through his education and career.
Today, he wants to give back and serve that community. Help us elect a new kind of leader, who focuses on Virginia’s future and the issues that matter!
House of Delegate Candidates
Below are summaries of the Virginia House of Delegates candidates participating in Meet Your Candidates night.
David Bulova (D)
Current Position: Delegate for District 37 since 2006
Candidate: 2023 House of Delegates District 11
David Bulova was first elected Delegate for the 37th District in 2005. The 37th District includes the city of Fairfax and parts of Fairfax County. As a result of Virginia’s recent redistricting, Delegate Bulova is running for reelection in District 11 which includes Fairfax City, George Mason University, and parts of Fairfax County.
Delegate Bulova serves as Chair of the General Laws Committee and Chair of the Commerce, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Subcommittee in the Appropriations Committee. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Education Committee, Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources and Appropriations Committee.
Almira Mohammed (R)
Candidate: 2023 House of Delegates District 11
One of the reasons I decided to run was because I kept hearing and seeing young -middle aged people struggling paycheck to paycheck, having to work two or more jobs for basic necessities, or depending on retired family members who are on social security. This pattern needs to change for everyone’s wellbeing!
Marcus Evans (R)
Candidate: House District 15
My only intention is to offer the members of the community a choice on November 7. I am asking for your vote and nothing more.
Our schools are discriminating against Asian students with impunity, test scores are dropping, and disciplinary issues are on the rise. Democrats like Laura Cohen were on the school board when our schools began to decline. Take the nonsense out of the classroom and teach children the fundamentals of an education and let them think critically for themselves.
Fairfax Party Organizations
Short summaries of the leaders of the Fairfax Democratic Party Town Hall at 7:00 and the Fairfax Republican Party Town Hall at 7:30 are below. Followed by short summaries of key Democratic and Republican organizations in Virginia and Fairfax.
Chair, Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC)
Bryan Graham chairs the FCDC Steering Committee which is the central organization that coordinates the work of the County, District and Standing Committees. Steering Committee meets once per month on the second Tuesday.
The Steering Committee is made up of all elected officers of the County Committee, the Chairs of the nine District Committees, the Chairs of the Standing Committees and caucuses, the highest ranking officers of the three Congressional District Democratic Committees with boundaries inside Fairfax County (8th, 10th, 11th), a representative from the Fairfax Young Democrats, the immediate past Chair of FCDC, and any member of the State Central Committee that is also an FCDC Member.
Bryan Graham is Senior Solution Architect and Chief Technologist at Booz Allen Hamilton.
Chair, Fairfax County Republican Committee
The FCRC is the only organization dedicated exclusively to organizing and administering the day-to-day grassroots operations for the Republican Party here in Fairfax County.
The FCRC Chairman is elected every even-numbered year at the County Convention. The Chairman oversees the FCRC’s entire scope of operations including fundraising, membership relations, volunteer recruitment, and Election Day operations. He sets priorities for the organization, with the help of the Executive Committee. He also sets the agenda for membership meetings and runs those meetings.
Steve Knotts is Senior Director, Dark Fiber and Right-of-Way at Cogent Communications.
Patricia Bast “Patti” Lyman
National Committeewoman, Republican Party of Virginia
Patti Lyman is a born and raised native Virginian and lifelong Republican. A committed conservative activist, she joined the pro-life movement in 1991 and soon left her business career for law school to become a pro-life attorney with the American Center for Law & Justice. After 9/11, Patti entered immigration law to specialize in asylum for persecuted Christians escaping Islamic countries.
Patti holds a B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia, an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and a Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law.
Patti and her husband of 30 years, Frank, live in Fairfax with their multiple cats and are blessed to enjoy their many godchildren, official and otherwise.
Democratic Party of Virginia is united in our efforts to elect Democratic leaders of character, integrity, ability, vision, and commitment to delivering results for Virginians.
Fairfax County Democratic Committee guidelines:
- Be friendly and patient.
- Be welcoming. We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities.
- Be considerate. Your conduct can affect others in intended and unintended ways, and you should consider possible unintended consequences or external perceptions when making decisions and interacting with others.
- Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.
- Be careful in the words that you choose.
The Fairfax Young Democrats (FYD) is a political organization that promotes civic engagement among young people of Fairfax County through education, leadership training, networking, and community service. Through these means, we strive to increase political participation among youth, especially those from under-represented groups.
The City of Fairfax Democratic Committee (CFDC) is a friendly local committee created by and composed of citizens of the City of Fairfax, VA
The George Mason Democrats are the official representatives of the Democratic Party at George Mason University. We seek to engage George Mason students in the political process by providing opportunities to meet candidates and elected officials, work on campaigns, discuss the most pressing issues of the day, and more.
The Republican Party of Virginia seeks not only to elect Republicans but to provide support and guidance to their campaigns. We are comprised of a governing body called the State Central Committee and a Chairman who is elected by Virginian’s every 4 years.
From Bryan Graham: As Chairman of the Fairfax Republicans, I welcome you to our website and to the Republican Party. Please join us as we continue to build a Republican party in Fairfax that is diverse, open and inclusive to everyone who wants to participate in our political process.
Our purpose is to promote Republican values to our members and throughout our community, and to support Republican candidates in their election campaigns.
Learn about what we do to encourage all citizens to become active in their local, state and federal government, to register to vote, and then make their voices heard at the ballot box in every election…
The Fairfax Area Young Republicans Club is Fairfax County and Fairfax City’s premier organization for young Republicans between the ages of 18 and 40. We are established under the Young Republican Federation of Virginia (YRFV), a political grassroots organization that lead social and volunteer efforts across the Commonwealth on behalf of Republican candidates.
To be a member of the FAYRs, you must be between the ages of 18 and 40 (inclusive), registered to vote in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and live, work, or do business in Fairfax County/Fairfax City. You may not be an active member of another Young Republican organization or College Republican club.
This group is dedicated to connecting and supporting Republicans located in Fairfax County & Fairfax City.
Facebook page: facebook.com/groups
Fairfax City Republicans:As citizens of the City of Fairfax we are committed to improving the lives of our fellow townsfolk.
College Republicans at Mason is a club dedicated to educating students on campus about the R
Groups hosting tables
Confirmed organizations hosting tables in Dewberry Lobby are below. This section does not include tables hosted by candidates and Fairfax Republican and Democratic organizations.
The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
We Never Support Nor Oppose Candidates For Office And Never Support Political Parties.
Mission Statement: Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.
NextGen America’s mission is to empower young voters to engage in the political process and ensure our government is responsive to the largest and most diverse generation in American history.
NextGen America is the nation’s largest youth voter organization, mobilizing millions of young people each year to support progressive candidates up and down the ballot. We are a multi-issue and multi-racial organization that works each election cycle to get millions of young people to the polls and win on the issues that matter to them.
Turning Point USA believes that activists are stronger on campus when they work together. We created the Campus Freedom Alliance to connect activists with other freedom-minded college organizations.
By joining the Alliance, your group will have the opportunity to request free activism supplies, receive on-campus assistance from our field team, participate in TPUSA activism events, offer to host activism events, and receive priority invitations to TPUSA trainings and conferences.
In addition to the Turning Point, Young Americans for Liberty is another group in the Alliance hosting information in the Dewberry Lobby.
Fairfax City Voter Registration & Elections
A Community Engagement and Civic Learning (CECL) experience provides students with the opportunity to make connections between multi-disciplinary knowledge and community change, to understand their role as citizens of the world, and to act to address challenging global problems in partnership with the community.
BridgeUSA is a youth-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates spaces on high school and college campuses for open discussion between students about political issues. Political division is one of our biggest challenges in the United States. Today’s youth are being taught that tribalism is better than unity and that having conversations across our differences is impossible. Spoiler Alert: This isn’t true!
New Virginia Majority (NVM), Virginia’s leading civic engagement organization, builds power in working-class communities of color across the Commonwealth. We organize in communities year-round for racial, economic, and environmental justice through political education, mass-scale voter outreach, mobilization, and intensive leadership development around dozens of issues.
Our organization strives to create a powerful movement to transform Virginia through voter engagement and issue campaigns that develop civic leadership and build public support.
House District 11
House District 15
Senate District 33
Senate District 35
Senate District 36
Senate District 37
Democracy onAir is a nonpartisan, 501c3 nonprofit that brings together information, experts, organizations, and the public to better address grand challenges like strengthening global democracies. One of Democracy onAir’s first networks is the US Government Network of 50 state hubs strengthening US democracy through facilitating greater civic engagement and civil discussion.
Democracy onAir was founded and is currently managed entirely by George Mason University alumni. Todd Gillette, PhD 2016 neuroscience and Senior Software Engineer at Northrop Grumman is Chair.
This Virginia Government Hub, part of the US Government Network, provides candidates, representatives, and the Virginia voters an opportunity to communicate with each other in a number of new ways:
- In person events like this MYC night with town halls, interviews, and tables with handouts hosted by staff. Most in person events will be livestreamed on YouTube Live to enable remote viewers to ask questions during the town halls as well as chat with other livestreamed viewers;
- Profile posts of candidates, representatives, state committees, and other government related information including in each post a persistent forum where people can ask questions, make comments, and offer suggestions on a variety of topics;
- Livestreamed discussions (Aircasts) professionally produced by Virginia students.
Be a Changemake.. There are no limits to your power as a constituent, especially if you bring your circles of influence (student groups, research centers, political science classes, friends, family) into these targeted Forum discussions. Tell your stories, discuss innovative ideas, suggest new legislation – related to issues most important to you! And then, broaden support for your issue by ‘sharing’ the dialog to your other social networks.